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The Biggest Factor in the AFC Championship Game Might Be Damien Williams

Divisional Round - Indianapolis Colts v Kansas City Chiefs

It’s perfectly understandable to think of the Chiefs and reduce them down to their component parts of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Especially since Kareem Hunt was shown the door after being outed as an abusive, woman-kicking rage monster.

You can make a case that no team in the league stood to benefit more from Hunt being put in the Time Out Chair than the Patriots. In two career games against them, Hunt averaged 100-plus yards rushing AND 100-plus yards receiving. And if it wasn’t for a rare misfire by Mahomes in October, those totals would be even worse:

Hunt was the clown in the Patriots’ storm drain. And release of that video couldn’t have worked out better for them if they were running for office against Hunt and the video dropped the day before the election.

Or so you’d think. Before we all get comfortable with the idea of Brian Flores’ defense not having to worry about the run game, Chiefs might have also picked the perfect time to find Hunt’s replacement.

Damien Williams went nuclear on the Colts last week. As dominant as they looked in the Wild Card game at Baltimore, Indy’s run defense looked as bad … pause while I try to find the perfect insult …  as Indy’s run defense usually looks. Or like it always looked before this year.

So you were impressed with Darius Leonard and his 143 tackles? So was I. So was everybody. Except, apparently, Williams:

As a matter of fact, he looked like Andy Reid had gene-spliced 2014 Jonas Gray and LeGarrette Blount to create him:

Holy moly.

In all he took a flamethrower to them. Here are his numbers, via Pro Football Focus:

Williams rushed for 129 yards on 25 attempts, as well as adding five receptions on six targets for 25 yards, with one drop. From this past weekends games, Williams tied C.J. Anderson for most missed tackles with four, as well as adding an impressive six runs of 10 yards or more to the stat sheet.

And for New England, it gets worse. Because according to Sharp Football, most of Williams’ production comes out of an alignment the Patriots have struggled with. That in fact, might have cost them the Super Bowl.

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Meaning that, when they go with Williams, Kelce and a third wide receiver along with Hill and Sammy Watkins and force defenses into subpackages, he’s successful on 2/3 of his runs. And nobody in the league is worse at stopping those runs than New England. So there’s that.

I’m not trying to be negative here. Unless it helps the Patriots because one of them reads this and says “Holy shit! Now even Old Balls doesn’t believe in us!” at it motivates the bejeezus out of them. In which case, I’m trying to be totes negative. But there’s all sorts of reasons to be optimistic. Like Damien Williams completely forgettable career performances against the Pats:
Damien Williams

And KC’s defense, which is objectively atrocious. And I’ll likely get into that in depth tomorrow. All I’m saying is that I wished for the Kareem Hunt problem to be solved, and it was. Now I’m just saying be careful what you wish for.